Possible Neymar PSG departure faces ‘major financial obstacles’

As reported earlier by RMC Sport, Neymar is now considering his future at PSG – but any deal for the 30-year old Brazilian will face major obstacles such as the transfer fee and the winger’s imposing salary demands. This is also exacerbated by Neymar’s automatic 2027 contract extension, reported by L’Équipe last week. 

The market is currently not totally receptive to the first signals sent by PSG surrounding Neymar’s departure. Only Chelsea, Manchester United, and Newcastle United have the heavy financial fire-power needed to make a deal with PSG this summer. This is problematic for Neymar, as he has historically ruled out a move to the Premier League in the past. Whilst Barcelona would be the preferred option for the Brazilian, the Catalonian club simply don’t have the finances to pull-off such a move. 

The World Cup is quickly approaching for Neymar, whose made it his major objective for next season – it could be the last chance to win the most coveted trophy in world football. Therefore, the former Barcelona man is desperate to play at the highest level consistently, so that he is in the best form possible running into the November tournament in Qatar. 

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FEATURE | Moussa Dembélé – Provocateur and marksman, the best is yet to come

Ibrox, March 11th, 2018. From just inside his own half, Celtic midfielder Scott Brown launches a speculative ball towards his centre forward. Despite the relative lack of danger, panic ensues in the Rangers defence. I’ll let Hugh Burns of Rangers TV take over the commentary from this point: “WHAT’S THE GOALIE DOIN’ TOM? WHAT’S THE GOALIE DOIN’? Dembélé gets Celtic back on level terms…”

After some slapstick defending from the Rangers rear-guard, Moussa Dembélé, then wearing the green and white of Celtic, poked a lobbed finish over the onrushing Wes Foderingham. The Frenchman has made a career of scoring this sort of goal, and revels in ruffling the feathers of opposition players and supporters.

Such was his knack for doing this, not to mention his all-round impressive form for Celtic, that Lyon prized him away from Glasgow in the summer of 2018. The €22m transfer represented a record sale for a Scottish club at that time, surpassing the €15m Southampton paid Celtic for Virgil Van Dijk in 2015. That fee, payable over five years, required some creative engineering from both parties as the then Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was reluctant to sell his main striker without a ready-made replacement so close to the transfer deadline.

Fearing the move may not materialise, Dembélé took to twitter to fire some cryptic shots at his manager. “A man without his word is nothing. A real man keeps his word.” The jab at Rodgers was telling, and spoke to the determination Dembélé had to return to his native France. Twenty goals in his debut season at Lyon, and 24 during the following year, justified the price tag and led to interest in the forward back on the British Isles prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Frank Lampard, then manager of Chelsea, had been monitoring the striker since his days in Scotland and even touted Oliver Giroud as a makeweight in any potential move. However, the transfer failed to materialise and, with Lampard being replaced as by Thomas Tuchel shortly afterwards, Chelsea dropped their interest in Dembélé. The striker failed to replicate this form following the return from the COVID-19 lockdown and, following a slow start to the 20/21 Ligue 1 season where he only registered a single goal, he was loaned out to Atlético Madrid as a replacement for the departing Diego Costa. His time at the Wanda Metropolitano will largely be remembered for a worrying collapse during a training session due to a drop in blood pressure. He played only 95 minutes during his brief spell at the club.

Following the instalment of Peter Bosz as Lyon manager at the beginning of the 21/22 season, Dembélé returned to favour for Les Gones. An impressive return of 22 goals has resuscitated his reputation as a proficient scorer in one of Europe’s top five divisions. Still only 25, the striker of Malian descent has plenty to offer a Champions League level club and with Lyon failing to secure European football for next season, they may decide to cash in now as he enters the final year of his contract. A potential move to the Premier League has been mooted but there will be no shortage of offers for Dembélé as he enters the prime of his career.

An astute provocateur on and off the pitch Dembélé has lately been seen winking in jest at a West Ham sending off and further endearing himself to the Celtic faithful by goading Rangers fans following their recent Europa League final defeat. Off field antics aside, Dembélé has displayed enough scoring nous at this stage of his career to warrant respect. Still only 25, the best is surely yet to come from the former Hoops striker.

Ciarán Brennan

Official | Alphonse Areola joins West Ham United on a permanent deal

As confirmed by the London club PSG and France international stopper Alphonse Areola has joined West Ham United on a permanent deal.

The former Bastia and Fulham goalkeeper had been on loan with the Hammers this season but they’ve now activated a purchase option to sign the player outright. Despite being second choice to Lukasz Fabianski this campaign, Areola was seen regularly in cup competitions for West Ham, including a run to the Europa League semi-finals.

Newcastle United also expressed an interest in the player in recent days but West Ham will be the 29-year-old’s destination as he looks to secure a place in Didier Deschamps’ France national team World Cup squad for this November. He so far has three caps to his name.

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L’Équipe report that the deal will bring PSG between €9m and €12m as they look to make more major player sales this summer.

Lille set to sign Brazilian defender Alexsandro Ribeiro

L’Équipe report this morning that Lille are closing in on the signing of Brazilian centre-back Alexsandro Ribeiro from second division Portuguese outfit GD Chaves.

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The 22-year-old underwent his medical yesterday in Paris ahead of his move to Ligue 1. He made 31 league appearances last season for the northern Portugal side, who finished third in the league and earned promotion to the first tier by beating Moreirense in a play-off over two legs.

With Sven Botman having completed his €40m move to Premier League side Newcastle, Les Dogues have been looking to bolster their defensive options.

The 2020/21 Ligue 1 title winners also completed the signing of right-back Akim Zedadka from Clermont, ostensibly arriving as a replacement for Zeki Çelik, who is set to complete a move to Roma.

The upcoming departures of Renato Sanches and Xeka also mean that the club has been in for a midfielder – Jonas Martin, who is reaching the end of his contract with Rennes, is set to sign with the club pending a medical.

Paul Pogba, Sadio Mané and Thiago Motta part of Leonardo’s PSG plan

Former PSG sporting director Leonardo, who has recently been replaced by Luis Campos, planned on recruiting Paul Pogba (29), Sadio Mané (30) and Ousmane Dembélé (25) as part of a rebuild of the squad, whilst he was also intent of replacing Mauricio Pochettino with Thiago Motta, according to Le Parisien. 

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All of Leonardo’s plans went to waste when he was shown the door in late May. Although his departure was curiously never officialised, he has since been replaced by former Lille sporting director Luis Campos. 

Campos is insisting upon less “bling-bling” transfers, such as Vitinha, who became the first signing of the new era on Thursday. 

Leonardo’s was for more of the same: a continuation of a policy of recruiting big-name stars. It was that strategy that saw the arrival of Lionel Messi (35), Sergio Ramos (36), Gianluigi Donnarumma (23) and Georginio Wijnaldum (31). Not all of those transfers paid off as hoped. 

Leonardo was however undeterred and was planning to bring in more big stars including Mané, Dembélé, and Pogba. The latter two would have been available on free transfers. Mané meanwhile, has joined Bayern Munich from Liverpool on a permanent deal. Speaking to RMC, Mané’s advisor, Bacary Cissé, revealed that “PSG did in fact go after Mané. Leonardo had many contacts with his German agent. They met up and spoke about a potential transfer. Everyone knew that Leonardo was in an ejector seat so we had to wait.”

Motta was also Leonardo’s choice to replace Pochettino on the bench at the Parc des Princes. The former PSG midfielder led Spezia Calcio to a 16th place finish in Serie A last season but has since left his post at the Italian club. 

PSG offered Juventus defender Matthijs De Ligt

Paris Saint-Germain have been offered Juventus defender Matthijs De Ligt by agent Rafaela Pimenta, but have turned down the opportunity for the time being as they are confident of getting a deal for Milan Škriniar over the line, according to sources contacted by Get French Football News.

Instead, both Chelsea and Bayern Munich are now in direct talks with the Bianconeri for a move away from Serie A for the Dutch international. Having joined from Ajax in 2019, De Ligt now looks set to leave the club having won 1 Serie A title and the Coppa Italia twice.

As confirmed last week by GFFN sources, the Slovakian defender was among the players who had agreed personal terms in principle with the Ligue 1 champions, and the club are optimistic over the transfer.

Gianluca Di Marzio reported last week that Juventus were interested in PSG man Presnel Kimpembe as a potential replacement for the outgoing De Ligt. The French international’s comments regarding his desire to meet with the club management over the new project had caused a stir, and reports indicate that he is set for a move this summer.



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Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivère denies Roy Hodgson will take up role at the club

In his interview with L’Équipe discussing Nice’s new post-Christophe Galtier project, club president Jean-Pierre Rivère has denied reports that former England manager Roy Hodgson would be taking up a role with the club as an advisor.

The former Liverpool and Fulham man was present at Les Aiglons’ training ground last Monday, for what was returning coach Lucien Favre’s first in charge after replacing Galtier.

Rivère indicated that with director Julien Fournier leaving at the end of the transfer window, a new organisational chart will soon take effect at the club, as owners INEOS look to reinvigorate the club’s project after a disappointing season.

“It has nothing to do with it. He’s a friend of Dave [Brailsford, of INEOS] who told him to come watch the training session. For the transfer window you have Julien [Fournier] and Dave, me, a scouting department… Dave will spend less time on the Tour de France because he’s still working at the club. The operation will be expanded, it will be more collegial.”

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Arsenal yet to submit an offer for LOSC winger Edon Zhegrova

According to Fabrizio Romano Arsenal have not yet submitted any proposal for Lille’s Kosovan winger Edon Zhegrova (23). Having been heavily linked with the North London side for several weeks, it has been confirmed that no move has been made for the Kosovan international as it currently stands. 

Zhegrova joined LOSC in January from Basel on a four-year contract as a replacement for Jonathan Ikoné who left for Fiorentina at the start of the winter transfer window. Last season the winger made a total of 28 appearances and scored six goals, whilst making 7 assists over his time at Basel and Lille. Since joining Les Dogues he made 12 appearances and scored two goals in Ligue 1, whilst making eight appearances and scoring the same amount for Basel in the Swiss Super League.

Lille have just confirmed the signing of Rémy Cabella on a free transfer, who  joins Jonas Martin (32), another veteran who has signed on a free, and Akim Zedadka (27) as Lille’s most recent arrivals, alongside manager Paulo Fonseca, who has recently replaced Jocelyn Gourvennec.

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United Rugby Championship: Dangerous Dayimani wants to continue expressing himself in Stormers colours

Stormers star Hacjivah Dayimani is looking to show off his skill set and express himself on the field ahead of the massive north-south derby against the Bulls on Friday in the United Rugby Championship.

Dayimani has been in blistering form at number eight in the absence of Evan Roos, earning himself a man of the match award in the Champions Cup against London Irish.

The loose forward showed his extreme pace for a big man when he scored a runaway try from around the halfway line leaving all the defenders in his wake.

North-south derby

For now, the focus shifts back to what is always a massive game against the Bulls and their first meeting since the URC final last season, where the Stormers claimed the title.

“It’s always a big game, and a great one to measure yourself,” Dayimani said. “Every game, I’m growing so the most important thing is to continue trying to get my best game, and especially against the Bulls.”

Dayimani’s game revolves around his running ability, both with pace and power, which opens up opportunities for team-mates that he connects with using an impressive skill set.

However, he has learnt to adapt his game when the weather or circumstances limit his natural influence.

“Sometimes the type of rugby being played doesn’t allow me to get into my game, either by the way the opposition is playing or the weather,” Dayimani said.

“For my type of game, it’s always been about running, and in the past when it got rainy, I struggled.

“I still try to beat my man when it’s wet, but I’ve also adapted, doing more work off the ball, on defence and in contesting in the lineouts.

“I’m just trying to express myself more on the field while trying to find work and do what I need to do.”

The Stormers have played in various weather conditions this season, from sunny South Africa to rainy Wales to freezing cold France, and Dayimani has learnt a lot through the experiences.

“Playing overseas was an eye-opener, especially with the weather, and against Clermont, it was very cold, and the crowd was hostile – we’re not used to crowds booing us for 80 minutes,” he said.

“With Deon Fourie being managed and Evan Roos absent, I try to make sure that everything operates smoothly as much as possible. A leader is not someone who just talks but who gives energy in the way he plays and makes the team want to follow him.

“Giving the team front-foot ball is the best form of leadership you can bring,” he added.

Different approach

Jake White rested a host of Bulls stars over the last two weeks to target the north-south derby while the Stormers have been playing their superstars. Dayimani, however, is not concerned and knows the Stormers will need to bring their A-game.

“I think the plans for the Vodacom Bulls and plans for us are completely different. We just want to get as much rugby together as possible,” he said.

“There has been a lot of hype, but I just know that when Friday comes, it doesn’t matter who’s rested or not; we’re going to bring our A-game.”

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Official | Adil Rami extends contract with Troyes

Yesterday afternoon, Ligue 1 side ESTAC Troyes announced the official extension of the contract of World Cup winner Adil Rami (36). With his contract due to run out at the end of last month, the Frenchman had received an offer to join his former manager, Laurent Batlles, at recently relegated Saint-Étienne. Instead, the defender has opted to extend his stay in the top flight for one more season.

Last season, the centre-back helped the newly promoted side to stay in the French first division, appearing 17 times in Ligue 1, scoring three goals. This was his first season in France since leaving Marseille in 2019, having played for Fenerbahçe and Boavista in the meantime.

The Europa League winner gave his thoughts on his decision to the club’s website. “I’m very happy to continue the adventure with ESTAC, having contributed to the historic survival of the club last year. I’m proud to keep sharing my values and my experience within the club and feel ready to take on the challenges that await me in Blue and White.”

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